Let’s take a trip back in time. Tune your DeLorean’s to February 23, 2015 and crank that baby up to 88 miles per hour. When you arrive at your destination, you’ll be in a time when University of Connecticut cornerback Byron Jones was dropping jaws at the NFL Combine.
If you’ll recall, he put on a physical display never before seen by NFL scouts. He had a standing long jump that measured 12 feet, 3 inches, breaking combine and world records. His vertical jump measured 44.5 inches, the average height of a 6-year-old child. And he ran 40 yards in just 4.43 seconds, or 30 feet every 1.1075 seconds. Just look at this athleticism on display:
And for a couple years, UConn’s combine legacy lived and died with Byron Jones. He put on an incredible show, earned himself an invite to the NFL Draft in Chicago, and was taken in the first round by the Cowboys despite being injured for much of his senior season at UConn.
But 2017 is a new year, and in this new year a new athlete has arrived at the NFL Combine to cement UConn’s legacy as a place for freak athletes to develop. That new athlete’s name is Obi Melifonwu, a 6-foot-4, 224-pound safety from UConn who is following in Jones’ footsteps. Take a look at these numbers, reported by The Houston Chronicle:
Broad jump? 11 feet, 9 inches.
Vertical jump? 44 inches.
40-yard dash? 4.40 seconds.
Those numbers reminding you of anyone? Want to see it for yourself? Take a look:
He almost jumped TOO far!
— NFL (@NFL) March 6, 2017
That right there is another incredibly talented defender straight out of UConn and straight into the dreams of NFL scouts across the country. That size and athleticism is the stuff that can change a defense from pretty good to great overnight. It’s the kind of display that Jones put on and used to propel himself into the first round of the NFL Draft.
There’s no way of knowing if Melifonwu will be as lucky, but he’s certainly on the right track. And two UConn athletes going in the first round in 3 years would be a big deal for a program still trying to put itself on the map with the biggest and best football schools in the country.